Your CMA Exam test day is fast approaching. What’s the best way to prepare for the Big Day? Here is my take on how you should (and should not) do in the last month, week and day of the exam.
For those with slower internet connection or prefer to read the text version of my suggestions, please find the transcript below.
What to Do 1 Month before Your CMA Exam Test Day
Ideally you should have covered all exam topics by now, and have done at least part of the practice questions.
The focus of this last month is to:
- Secure your place in the Prometric Center
- Double check the ID
- Improve performance of your weakest areas
- Put theory into practice by working intensely on test prep software
1. Schedule Your Exam
I like the idea of starting the studying first, see how the progress is, and schedule once you are comfortable taking the exam in the next testing window.
Having said that, you shouldn’t wait till the last minute because the testing sites cater different professional exams and they do get full. This is especially the case in the last testing window (i.e. September and October), and particularly the last few days in October.
I suggest scheduling at least 1 month in advance in normal months, and 6 weeks in advance in the Sep – Oct window.
2. Check your ID and Travel Arrangement
It is also a good idea to check whether your identification is valid and the name is spelled exactly the same as that in the CMA exam registration form.
If you need special arrangement on travel and accommodation, it is time to confirm your reservations.
3. Improve Performance in Weaker Areas
Many candidates spend the last month of studying by rereading the entire text book or going through all the exercises.
What a waste of precious time.
Don’t spend any time on topics that you are good at — this strategy won’t help you get extra points. Instead, work exclusively on your weaker areas, starting with the ones you struggle with the most.
Is there a topic you just don’t get it? Prepare to spend half a day and figure it out once and for all. Once you understand how the concept is applied, you can immediately improve from scoring absolutely nothing in this topic, to getting some decent points.
Similarly, rework the questions you did wrong previously. You might only have 20% chance of getting that tricky question right. Now the odds increase to 80% because you overcome the trick.
4. Put Theory into Practice
Understanding the concepts is important, but knowing how they can be applied in real business situations is critical to pass this exam.
It’s time to stop reading the text book even if you are not ready. Switch to the test mode and work on as many practice questions as you can, starting with those you did wrong previously.
It is also important to read the explanation of each answer and understand the underlying concepts the examiners are trying to test you. If you have the time, please read the explanation of all answers (including the 3 incorrect answers) so you know why the others are wrong. It will take more time to go through each question, but it’s worth every minute of your time.
1-2 Weeks Before the CMA Exam Test Day
Pick a date to test-drive your way to the testing center. Try to pick the same time of the day for a realistic expectation of the traffic condition. The purpose is to get yourself psychologically prepared and to remove one uncertainty related to the exam.
1 Day Before
The last thing to do is to cram all the way. It drains your energy and confidence, both of which are critical to your passing success.
You may want to pack your bag today. Check if the calculator is working and has enough battery power. If you drive, make sure there is enough gas in the car.
Then, do anything that is relaxing e.g. watch a bit of TV, a hot bath, a good jog, a hearty lunch with friends. After a pleasant day, sleep early and tell yourself that you ARE ready.
Triple check your ID.
Items to bring:
- A jacket in case the air-conditioning at the exam site is too strong for you.
- Bring along your flash cards or summary notes. You don’t really have time to study but it’s comforting to bring along something to read. Text book is too overwhelming for last-minute review.
- You should have had the test-drive, but it’s prudent to bring a map, cellphone and/or any device with GPS.
- The locker at prometric center is usually quite small, so better bring a small bag and leave bulky and unnecessary items at home.
- A water bottle for a sip before the exam or during break.
- Favorite snack to pamper yourself afterwards.
Don’t forget to bring your confidence on the exam day 🙂
Live from the Exam Room…
See how my bloggers reported on their experience on the exam day:
Best of luck! Feel free to tell me your testing date below, and I will send you a good-luck wish on Facebook on your CMA exam test day.
For Your Further Reading